Noise Sensitivity

Try earplugs, headphones or cotton wool. Ear defenders are available from building suppliers or gun clubs, and may be more comfortable than earplugs. Prices range from around £5 to over £100, some of which have a built in radio. If you need to wear ear defenders a lot, you may end up spending much time lying on your back, in which case watch out for pressure sores. Sundays tend to be quieter than weekdays so it may be a better day to do things like going outside. There is also some predictable variation of noise level over the course of the day; quietest in the middle of the night and never quiet during the rush hour. Many electrical appliances hum so it might be worth thinking about this when buying a new appliance. The literature about some appliances includes noise levels during operation. Consider turning off plugs or central heating while you rest if they disturb you.

Properly sealed double-glazing cuts out more noise than single. Apparently, up to a point, the bigger the space between the two panes of glass, the more the noise level will be reduced. It is worth seeking professional advice from someone who knows about noise reduction if you are considering replacing windows. You may choose a window with a large opening section so that you can have a change of air quickly with the minimum of exposure to outside noise.

It may be worth trying to escape temporary severe noise by going to stay somewhere else. Write a respectful letter to your neighbours explaining that your illness is affected by noise and asking for their help in one or two specific and realistic ways. For example, ask if they might be able to let you know beforehand what dates they expect to use noisy machines.

Plastic cutlery is quieter than metal. A ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Quiet Please’ sign can let other householders know when you particularly want quiet. You might find that some rooms in your house tend to be noisier than others; it may be worth using the quietest room as a rest room. Other family members may be willing to use headphones when they are watching TV if the noise affects you. Some people with M.E. watch television with the sound off (some sports and nature programmes are suitable for silent viewing), although the high-pitched noise may still be too much. Try subtitles on Teletext page 888. Using a tape-head cleaning cassette reduces the buzz from the tape recorder. M.E. groups may like to try an idea from the Deaf Community and use waving as a quiet alternative to clapping.

Headaches : Holidays : Resting : Tinnitus